Adithi S14

THE STUDY OF FACTORS AFFECTING REACTION TIME IN HUMANS
Adithi S
2013-2014

ABSTRACT
The purpose of the experiments was to study the effect of factors including age, vision, hearing and the use of dominant and non-dominant hand on a person’s reaction time. Reaction time is the elapsed time between the presentation of a sensory stimulus and the subsequent behavioral response. Subjects from three different age groups were asked to catch a meter stick and based on the distance of the drop, their reaction times were calculated. It was found that middle school students had the fastest reaction time, followed by upper school students and then adults. While a slowdown in the development of interconnections between neurons in the brain, from childhood through adulthood, might have caused the overall increase in reaction times with age, the superior reaction times among middle school subjects may also have been due to them being frequently engaged in activities requiring faster reaction times like sports and video games (which may have resulted in greater levels of interconnections developing in specific areas of the brain).

EXPERIMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS AND FUTURE EXPERIMENTS
An improvement for this experiment is to measure how far the ruler is from the thumb of the test subject catching the ruler. Another improvement for this experiment is to measure how far the test subjects' hand is from the table. These improvements would help the experiment become more accurate. Some additional experiments related to conditions under which reaction times get affected would have been to measure reaction times when the test subject performed the tasks while using a cell phone, or when the test subject performed tasks after skipping a meal.